10 New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners


Family Handyman

By Amanda Prischak, Dec. 15,2020

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Making a New Year’s Resolution

Last year, 28 percent of Americans made New Year’s resolutions. No doubt millions more will set goals for 2021. And while losing weight, exercising more and getting finances in control are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions, you might consider making a home improvement resolution. Your home, after all, is one of your biggest assets and the place where so many treasured memories are made.

Here are 10 easy home improvement resolutions to consider. To make them stick, try breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps before plugging them into a calendar to keep yourself accountable. Here’s to 2021!

allergy furnace filter filter optionsFAMILY HANDYMAN

Check Your Furnace Filter Every Month


Your furnace filter keeps dust, allergens and other icky stuff from entering (and possibly damaging) your furnace. It also helps keep your indoor air clean. Depending on the size of your house and whether you have a pet, you may need to swap out your furnace filter as often as once a month. The only way to know for sure is to check your filter every 30 days or so.

If you can’t see clearly through your filter when you hold it up to light, it’s time for a new one. Check out this easy furnace filter reminder tip to keep furnace filter changes top of mind.


Survey Your Foundation


A crack or opening in your home’s foundation provides easy access for rats, mice and other unwanted pests to enter your home. That’s why it’s worth carefully surveying your home’s foundation for any possible openings. There are several different types of foundation cracks you might find. If you see one, caulk concrete cracks ASAP.

rapitest soil test kit

Test Your Soil

A soil test can give you an idea of what kinds of nutrients your soil lacks and which kind of fertilizer you should be using on your lawn. It’s especially important to do if you’ve moved to a new house, want to expand your garden or notice that your plants aren’t growing well.

To DIY, order a soil kit like Luster Leaf Rapitest Test Kit. Or you can leave it to the experts by contacting your local cooperative extension service or land grant university for a professionally-done test. Once you know the results, you can amend the soil with the right mix of nutrients.


drinking water test

Test Your Water


A water test can give you peace of mind that your water is free of harmful substances such as lead, bacteria and more. This is especially important if you have a private water supply, because your water isn’t regularly monitored and tested like public water supplies.

You can test your water yourself with a kit like the Health Metric Drinking Water Test Kit. Or you can call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 to have your water tested by a state certified laboratory. Depending on the results, you might consider filtering your water.



Tackle that Junk Drawer (or Room)


Most of us have a drawer — or perhaps an entire room — filled with random, unorganized items. That’s a problem. Many times, we don’t need all that stuff. And when it comes time to locate items we do need, they’re nearly impossible to find. Make 2021 the year you create order out of chaos by decluttering and organizing your junk drawer (or room) once and for all.


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Change and clean dryer filterFAMILY HANDYMAN

Clean Neglected Areas


When was the last time you cleaned your dryer vents? Or your refrigerator coils? Cleaning jobs like these aren’t usually top of mind, but doing them will keep your home looking and running better long-term. Other cleaning chores that tend to fall under the radar involve your air conditioneryour showerheads and your dishwasher.


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Do a Curb Appeal Project

Curb appeal means the attractiveness of your house when viewed from street level. Boosting your home’s curb appeal will give you newfound pride in your home and may even increase your home’s value. Some easy curb appeal projects include painting the front door, planting some attractive fast-growing plants, installing path lighting and placing welcoming outdoor furniture on your front porch.



Up Your Fire Safety


A home structure fire happened every 93 seconds in the U.S. in 2019. That’s scary, but fortunately there are several steps you can take to keep your home from becoming a statistic.

Start by properly testing and maintaining your smoke alarms. Then buy fire extinguishers and keep them in the right place. Finally, avoid hidden fire hazards in your home and follow the top fire safety tips.


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Stop Drafts in Their Tracks


There’s probably at least one door or window in your house that’s letting in a draft. Those openings make your home chilly and increase your energy costs. Fortunately, you can stop those drafts by removing window and door trim and sealing the airflow permanently.

You might also consider a draft stopper on doors and windows to keep things toasty. Finally, since your chimney can also be a source of drafts, consider a fireplace draft stopper.


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dfh1_shutterstock_343478285 thermostat energy efficientSPEEDKINGZ/SHUTTERSTOCK

Cut Your Home’s Carbon Footprint


Making an eco-friendly change will help the environment, and it might also help your budget if it reduces your energy costs. Some easy ways to green up your household routine include composting fooddrying your clothes on a line and replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. Learn more ideas to reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

Family Handyman can help you tackle home projects large and small in 2021. In addition to familyhandyman.com, you can find lots of helpful content on the Family Handyman YouTube channel and in Family Handyman magazine. Also, check out DIY University to access online home improvement classes taught by experts in the field.